Sheffield Steelers 7-0 Edinburgh Capitals
The Steelers turned their fortunes around with a thudding victory over the Edinburgh Capitals, their fifth win in five games against the Scottish side.
The home side came into this on the back of a minor blip – two defeats in their last four games, and having to come from behind to beat bottom club Fife Flyers – that has seen them lose ground on leaders Belfast Giants, seven points behind with three games in hand.
However they managed to pick up a vital win this evening
Geoff Woolhouse was in nets for the Steelers, with regular custodian John DeCaro unavailable, and he had the box seat to witness the massacre which occurred at the Motorpoint. After a slow start, Sheffield got their first on 12 minutes, Jeff Legue showing great skill to beat multiple men before finding Colt King, who launched it home. A minute later, the lead was doubled, Squires squaring to Finnerty for the goal.
The game took a while to re-enter its stride upon the beginning of the second period, and the Capitals had the best early chance, Woolhouse deflecting Sladok’s shot onto the post with his skate, however seconds after this it was 3-0, as Huttel poked home. A good crowd was in despite the numerous other sporting distractions available in Sheffield on that day, and that was illustrated by the noise that greeted goal number four, which came seconds before the end of the period – Legue’s shot was blocked by beleaguered Capitals netminder Nathan Craze, Mike Ramsay finished up.
On 42 minutes a comfortable lead became a rout, with the best goal of the game – Steve Birnstill illustrated supreme skill to dodge between two defencemen, circumnavigate Craze and slot in. The game was over as a contest by this point and play became more niggly, with Legue at the centre of a mini-fracas with a Capitals defenceman. However, attention soon turned to Steelers player-coach Ryan Finnerty, as, following up a blocked Legue drive; he converted his landmark 300th goal for the reigning champions. This was the first of two goals in a minute, with Legue at long last adding his name to the scoresheet for his 67th point of this campaign, shooting between the legs of the hapless Craze.
Richard Hartmann did soon after illustrate the finest moment of Scottish quality in this most one-sided of encounters, as he slinked between most of the Steelers squad, however the final shot was awful, just like the entire night’s experience for the visitors.